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Calendula (Calendula Officinalis)
Calendula officinalis comes from the latin and means "the first day of the month". The term also refers to the blooms extremely long, May to November flowering season. This medicinal plant is sometimes called the pot marigold to differentiate it from the smaller ornamental marigold, known botanically as Tagetes.

Plant Facts : This medicinal annual produces cheerful golden orange flowers that have a faint but distinctive scent. Growing up to 28 inches tall, its upright, branching stems have paddle shaped leaves that are densely covered with fine hairs. Its leaves can be added to salads while the flowers add a colorful garnish to many dishes.

Origin : Although it is native to the Mediterranean, the calendula is now cultivated throughout the world. It grows wild in many areas, preferring sunny roadsides and open fields.

Parts Used : Medicinal preparations are usually made from either the whole flower heads or just the petals.

Components : The calendula contains an essential oil that has an antibiotic effect and lends the flower its characteristic scent. Other components include calendon - which also has a strong odour-the carotene -like dye calendulin, the therapeutic plant fiber mucilage, saponin, organic acids and various enzymes and resins.

Indications : Calendula has rather strong antiseptic properties both topically and internally. Applied externally to the skin, the plant's antibiotic action helps promote the painless healing of minor wounds by reducing inflammation and pus formation. Because calendula improves blood circulation it is useful for alleviating skin ulcers, burns and bruises and for reducing scarring. Calendula can also be used as a gargle to relieve sore throats. Taken internally, the plant promotes the secretion of bile and thereby simulates digestion and bowel function.

Extra Tip : Take a cold shower, and without drying off, rub your bosy with calendula oil(sold at health food store). Follow with a warm shower, but don't use any soap. Your skin will soon become soft to the touch.

Methods of Administration:

Tea : Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1-2 tsp. of dried calendula petals. Steep for 10 min, then strain. Drink 2-3 cups of warm tea daily.

Wound Dressing : To facilitate healing of skin wounds, soak a compress in calendula tea (above) and apply to the affected area.

Gargle : Unless your doctor directs otherwise, use calendula tea as a gargle or rinse to relieve inflammation in the mouth or throat. Gargle with warm tea several times a day.

Pressed Juice : Press the flowers to extract the juice. Apply directly to scrapes, corns and warts.

Homeopathy : To help treat bruises or skin ulcers in the lower limbs, take the homeopathy remedy Calendula internally in a 30C dosage. Supplement this remedy with a calendula compress: Mix 1 tsp. of undiluted calendula tincture in half a glass of warm water. Apply the compress directly to the wound.

Ointment : A healing skin ointment can be bought in stores or prepared at home by mixing a few drops of calendula oil with skin lotion. Apply it to cuts and scrapes.